ARMM ready to respond to calamities
Cotabato City (21 May 2015) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is ready to respond to natural and man-made calamities that may occur. This was stated by ARMM – Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART) director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer Ramil Masukat.
Recently, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said a magnitude 7.2 earthquake might hit the Philippines anytime particularly in Metro Manila.
Masukat said that since calamities like earthquake is unpredictable, its effects might also be felt in other regions in the archipelago. He added that the agency is already conducting activities that will prepare ARMM’s local government units if such calamities strike.
“Capacity building is the first step in calamity and disaster preparation. Thus, besides the regular capacity building for our rescue team, we will also conduct earthquake drills in selected offices and schools within the region,” he said.
The ARMM-HEART Operation Center located in Cotabato City has installed an Earthquake Intensity Meter to monitor 24/7 earthquakes occurring in Cotabato City, Maguindanao, and nearby towns. The same equipment was also installed in the province of Tawi-Tawi.
The Earthquake Intensity Meter measures and displays the seismic scale should an earthquake occurs. It also records and stores various data that are associated with the earthquake.
Masukat, meanwhile, said residents in the region should not be afraid and instead equip themselves with the knowledge on what to do in case such calamities occur in the region. Preparation is the best way to survive any calamity, he said.
He also encouraged ARMM constituents to always listen to the radio, the most common media channel in the region, for updates and to have basic emergency kits ready, which include flashlight, batteries, medicines, water and food among others.
The last time ARMM experienced a high-intensity earthquake was on August 16, 1976 when some parts of Maguindanao and Sulu were hit by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that killed at least 5,000 people.